After weeks of planning for your important conference call, you’re ready. You have a stack of notes filled with talking points, and you’ve managed to coax your biggest customers into clearing their schedules for this exact moment.
With an exciting jolt of adrenaline, you open the conference call.
But something’s wrong.
You can hear your excited greeting echoing back at you, and there’s a persistent popping sound coming from one of the attendees. Worse, it sounds like one listener is sitting in rush hour traffic, and your boss just messaged you to say your volume’s way too high.
How should you respond?
Solving Your Conference Call Headaches
These are common conference call problems, and they can be prevented with a little prep work.
Here’s how to make sure your call quality stays top-notch, regardless of whether you’re hosting or listening in:
1. Using a cell phone? Pick a location with a good signal. Always check your bars before making the call. If you’re indoors, move closer to a window. If you’re out of the office, you may need to move to a new location.
2. Use a headset. Not only will this free up your hands, it’ll reduce background noise on your end. Just make sure you keep the microphone to the side of your mouth to prevent popping sounds. If you can, use a wired connection instead of Bluetooth to get consistent, reliable call quality.
3. “Pad” the room. Whether you’re hosting the call or not, block out background noise. Close the door and draw the blinds. Whenever possible, pick a location that’s far from large groups of people, like that forgotten office at the end of the hallway.
4. The mute button is your friend. Depending on the technology you’re using, you can mute certain participants. This is great when you have an important speaker, or if you have a caller with a lot of background noise. If you’re calling in, mute yourself when you’re not speaking.
5. Run a sound check beforehand. Whether you’re testing new software or just want to see if you have your room set up properly, have a friend call in to make sure the sound quality is perfect.
6. Use an ethernet cable. If you’re using VoIP, an ethernet cord will give you better reliability than Wi-Fi. Ethernet cables cut down on delays, which helps prevent people from talking over one another.
7. Speed up your internet connection. Many small businesses use a single internet connection for both VoIP and other business tasks. But with all the competition for bandwidth, call quality can suffer. If you can’t get a faster internet connection, talk to your IT team about prioritizing VoIP.
8. Acquire a VoIP-optimized router. Sharing a regular old router for all of your internet tasks won’t give your VoIP the attention it deserves. To overcome this, purchase a VoIP router to keep data for your call streaming in, even when someone in Accounting is downloading the latest IRS tax instructions.